What's the Deal with cheap zoom lenses?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Mr.B, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Mr.B

    Mr.B Guest

    Hi,

    I got my new D2X with the 24-85 f2.8 lens, I like it.

    Now I want a hight zoom lens. one that goes upto 210 or 300.

    I noticed that there are really cheap ones, ~$99 - $200

    and also expensive ones. ~$1200

    the Question is, If I got the cheap lens would it be usefull, or totally
    worthless?

    and what's the main thing that makes the other lens so expensive?

    best regards
    MR.B
     
    Mr.B, Jun 30, 2005
    #1
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  2. Mr.B

    Lestat Guest

    From what I understand, zoom lenses are cheaper due to the method in
    which they are produced. (Of which I'm not exactly certain. ^.^)

    You really don't want to go cheap when it comes to lenses. I wouldn't
    anyway if that means anything.

    Quality of the glass and make of a lense will definately increase the
    price. But prices also vary between zoom, telephoto and fixed lens
    types.

    I normally wouldn't suggest zoom unless you are really going to need
    it. Some say you loose quality using zoom lenses but honestly I'm new
    to photography so I can't tell you that from experience.

    Hope this helps a little.
     
    Lestat, Jun 30, 2005
    #2
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  3. Mr.B

    Wiseguy Guest

    you get what you pay for. the general issue surround the cost of lenses is
    their speed or maximim aperature. As the focal length of a lens increases it
    gets quite costly to produce one that is fast. the cheap lenses you see are
    probable at f/5.6 or f/8 or so. the really high cost ones might get you down to
    f/2.8...in other words: go cheap and you need really fast film and/or lots of
    light.

    --
    There are no interpersonal problems that cannot be solved with a
    suitable application of the laws of chemistry.

    -anything after the next line is ANNOYING CRAP that newsfeeds adds-
    -directly contact newsfeeds and ISPs that piggy back them to complain-
     
    Wiseguy, Jun 30, 2005
    #3
  4. Mr.B

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Well, like most other electronics, you tend to get what you pay for. Why
    would anyone buy that $1400 Canon "L" lens, after all, if they could get the
    exact equivalent for a quarter of the price? The answer is that the
    equivalent isn't available for a quarter of the price; the quality will be
    inferior.
    Quality of glass and build. To you, the shooter, that translates to
    sharper, better saturated images. I started with the stock lens on my Canon
    D-SLR, but once I bought my first "L" lens, the difference was like night
    and day, and I never used the stock lens again. I simply couldn't. ;)

    All of which is not to say you have to spend oodles of money to get a good
    lens. You won't get the best, but you can still get a good, perfectly
    acceptable lens for an affordable price. But if you go bottom of the barrel
    in price, that's likely what you'll get in quality too. If you can't afford
    the best, aim for the middle. Don't aim for the bottom, because chances are
    it'll just make you angry when the lens doesn't perform worth a damn.
     
    Mike Kohary, Jun 30, 2005
    #4
  5. Mr.B

    Pat Ziegler Guest

    You put cameras on lenses not the other way around.

    The lens is, in my opinion, the number one factor.. f/2 lenses with
    low dispersion glass just make razor sharp images.

    I have a 75-300mm f/4-5.6 that I use sometimes I think it cost me about
    $200 I spent almost $1500 on a prime 300mm f/4 L IS USM & a 1.4x For
    wildlife the 75-300 stays at home... It's okay for close up people shots
    but if you want excellent detail go with a fast, low dispersion glass...

    Image Quest Photography
    www.imagequest.com
     
    Pat Ziegler, Jun 30, 2005
    #5
  6. Mr.B

    Wiseguy Guest

    I understand your point but have to mention that you don't strictly need a lens
    to take a picture...ever use a pinhole camera? you can get a nice crisp image
    with a small enough hole and a long enough exposure.


    --
    There are no interpersonal problems that cannot be solved with a
    suitable application of the laws of chemistry.

    -anything after the next line is ANNOYING CRAP that newsfeeds adds-
    -directly contact newsfeeds and ISPs that piggy back them to complain-
     
    Wiseguy, Jun 30, 2005
    #6
  7. Mr.B

    Scott W Guest

    Lenses are an odd sort of beast, a sharp long lens is fairly easy to
    design and produce, as long as you can live with a fairly large f
    number. Wider angle lenses start to get tougher to do and simply going
    to larger f number does not make it all that much easier. With a long
    lens you are mainly fighting spherical and chromatic aberration,
    spherical aberration gets worse as the cube of the lens diameter, so
    going to a large f number make things better in a hurry. Chromatic
    aberration is very much misunderstood, in large part due to the
    marketing efforts of any number of camera companies. You don't need
    low dispersion glass to make a lens with low chromatic aberrations, the
    low dispersion glass does make it cheaper to make a lens with low
    chromatic aberrations.

    Both of these photos were taken with a $210 Sigma 70-300 zoom lens
    http://www.sewcon.com/photos/IMG_7248.jpg
    http://www.sewcon.com/photos/IMG_7253.jpg
    BTW both photos were taken with a 20D

    No this is not my sharpest lens and to get to this level I have to
    shoot at f10 or more. But both of these photos would make very sharp 8
    x 10 prints.

    A better lens would allow me to shot with a more open aperture and
    would be a bit sharper then what I got above, but you can get decent
    photos even with a cheap lens. But I was already fighting DOF and so
    would not have opened the aperture in any event.

    BTW I don't mind if someone posts saying my photos are soft as long
    as they post one of their photos full resolution.

    These photos (about 900 for the day) were mostly for a web page and the
    local paper, neither one of which came close to needing the resolution
    that I was getting much less the resolution I might have gotten with an
    L lens.

    So look at my photos, I would not say the $210 lens is worthless.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Jun 30, 2005
    #7
  8. Mr.B

    Bob Guest

    : Mr.B wrote:
    : > Hi,
    : >
    : > I got my new D2X with the 24-85 f2.8 lens, I like it.
    : >
    : > Now I want a hight zoom lens. one that goes upto 210 or 300.
    : >
    : > I noticed that there are really cheap ones, ~$99 - $200
    : >
    : > and also expensive ones. ~$1200
    : >
    : > the Question is, If I got the cheap lens would it be usefull, or totally
    : > worthless?
    : >
    : > and what's the main thing that makes the other lens so expensive?
    : >
    : > best regards
    : > MR.B
    : Lenses are an odd sort of beast, a sharp long lens is fairly easy to
    : design and produce, as long as you can live with a fairly large f
    : number. Wider angle lenses start to get tougher to do and simply going
    : to larger f number does not make it all that much easier. With a long
    : lens you are mainly fighting spherical and chromatic aberration,
    : spherical aberration gets worse as the cube of the lens diameter, so
    : going to a large f number make things better in a hurry. Chromatic
    : aberration is very much misunderstood, in large part due to the
    : marketing efforts of any number of camera companies. You don't need
    : low dispersion glass to make a lens with low chromatic aberrations, the
    : low dispersion glass does make it cheaper to make a lens with low
    : chromatic aberrations.
    :
    : Both of these photos were taken with a $210 Sigma 70-300 zoom lens
    : http://www.sewcon.com/photos/IMG_7248.jpg
    : http://www.sewcon.com/photos/IMG_7253.jpg
    : BTW both photos were taken with a 20D
    :
    : No this is not my sharpest lens and to get to this level I have to
    : shoot at f10 or more. But both of these photos would make very sharp 8
    : x 10 prints.
    :
    : A better lens would allow me to shot with a more open aperture and
    : would be a bit sharper then what I got above, but you can get decent
    : photos even with a cheap lens. But I was already fighting DOF and so
    : would not have opened the aperture in any event.
    :
    : BTW I don't mind if someone posts saying my photos are soft as long
    : as they post one of their photos full resolution.
    :
    : These photos (about 900 for the day) were mostly for a web page and the
    : local paper, neither one of which came close to needing the resolution
    : that I was getting much less the resolution I might have gotten with an
    : L lens.
    :
    : So look at my photos, I would not say the $210 lens is worthless.
    :
    : Scott
    :

    Excellent pictures. Proves there are 3 parts to camera, the lens, the body
    and the person holding it!
     
    Bob, Jun 30, 2005
    #8
  9. Mr.B

    Fred Vloo Guest

    You own a D2X and you don't know the difference? You pay 4.5K for a camera
    and want a 100 dollar lens?

    Fred
     
    Fred Vloo, Jun 30, 2005
    #9
  10. Mr.B

    Kitt Guest

    I've gotta' agree with Fred here. I can't praise some of my
    inexpensive (read cheap) lenses enough when I'm talking to a guy like
    me who wants exceptional snapshots or even really good smaller
    enlargements or for use on cd's or the web. But, I'm always assuming
    he/she is shooting with an entry level DSLR like my D70. I've got
    every focal length down to f1.8 from 17 to 300 and nearly every level
    of macro magnification covered with five lenses and and a set of
    closeup lenses that I've spent less than $900 US on. I'm tickled to
    death with the results and looking at my pictures is almost like
    counting coup. It's great when you set out spend as little as you can
    and get quality even better than you expected.

    But.... you just spent around five grand for one of the el primo DSLR's
    out there. Why would you even be concerned about cheap anything? If I
    had that kind of money and that kind of camera, I'd be looking at
    nothing but the finest glass available. I'd start with a couple VR
    zooms and fill it in with the best rated primes I could find as the
    funds became available. But hey, that's just an opinion. YMMV.

    (I think I'm seeing a rule of thumb here? Expect to pay as much for
    lenses as you did the body?)

    Kitt
     
    Kitt, Jun 30, 2005
    #10
  11. Mr.B

    Scott W Guest

    I have not hit that point yet, but I am looking at the EF-S 10-22mm
    from Canon, that will do it.

    For me, I would rather save some money on the telephoto lens and spend
    it on the wide angle. A cheap telephoto lens can make a good photo, a
    cheap wide angle will not.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Jun 30, 2005
    #11
  12. Get the AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (2.9x zoom) -
    http://nikonimaging.com/global/prod...ephoto/af-s_vr_zoom70-200mmf_28g_if/index.htm
    I've heard few complaints qualitywise, though it might leave a big
    hole in your pocket. And soon in mine... :-(

    It's price is high because of glass quality, the VR (Vibration
    Reduction) which is very addictive!, the AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)
    type of silent high-speed autofocus, the large f/2.8 aperture
    throughout the zoom-range, ...

    Ditch the VR and the AF-S and you get the AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm
    f/2.8D ED (2.5x zoom), which is optically also "up there".

    If it's Nikon's prices are not for you, do consider the Sigma
    alternative, APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG HSM - the glass is probably
    just as good as the other two, but no VR:
    http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/lens/telezoom/70_200_28.htm

    If you end up going down the the cheaper 70-300 road, the Sigma APO
    70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO (the "APO" being of importance!) should do
    just nicely.
     
    Rolf Egil Sølvik, Jun 30, 2005
    #12
  13. Mr.B

    Mike Kohary Guest

    I think his point was rhetorical, and it's a good point to make.
    You'll change camera bodies, but invest in a good line of lenses and
    you'll keep them forever.
     
    Mike Kohary, Jul 1, 2005
    #13
  14. Mr.B

    birdman Guest

    Somebody buys a D2x and doesn't know anything about lenses?
    Must be one of those guy who couldn't foresee what would happen in Iraq
    after the invasion . . .
     
    birdman, Jul 1, 2005
    #14
  15. Mr.B

    grolschie Guest

    grolschie, Jul 1, 2005
    #15
  16. When speaking about lens prices, I think the original poster should
    also know something about flare; I have a Minolta 70-210/4 and the
    Sigma 70-300/4-5,6 (the APO version) and the difference is HUGE...


    Ciao
    Enrico
     
    Enrico Facchin, Jul 1, 2005
    #16
  17. Mr.B

    Scott W Guest

    OMG you mean he works at the white house? :)

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Jul 1, 2005
    #17
  18. Hmmm, I am sure folks would really love to see a list of these cheap but
    good quality lenses. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have an
    extremely uncanny ability to make the wrong choice. Things like opening up
    toolboxes and camera cases up-side down by accident only to watch in horror
    and self loathing when all my stuff spills out all over the ground.
     
    Garry Freemyer, Jul 7, 2005
    #18
  19. Reminds me of that hilarious cartoon where they are bombing bin-ladin and
    he's standing there saying "Wow! I didn't think they would get this angry!"
     
    Garry Freemyer, Jul 7, 2005
    #19
  20. Raises hand. Yes, I bought one too, and I don't know diddly about lenses. :)
     
    Garry Freemyer, Jul 7, 2005
    #20
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